This was my first Courtney Summers book, and it was a wild ride. I had heard so much hype for it and when Edelweiss approved me for an arc, I started reading it almost immediately. I finished it that night/morning at around 2 am, and I was an emotional mess. Not because it was sad, although it was, but I had so many other emotions running through me. I’m honestly a bit wary to read Sadie now, but I have a feeling that that one will be a bit better for me to read than The Project. This book absolutely needs trigger warnings, so please read the ones I posted and do your own research on the triggers in this book before reading!
About The Book:
The Project by Courtney Summers, published February 2nd, 2021 by Wednesday Books. Recommended reading age is 16+.
Trigger Warnings: Language, suicide, torture, manipulation, religious cults, familial death, car accidents, rioting, abuse.
Cover Credits: Cover design by Kerri Resnick, Cover art done by Agata Wierzbicka.
Lo Denham is used to being on her own. After her parents died, Lo’s sister, Bea, joined The Unity Project, leaving Lo in the care of their great aunt. Thanks to its extensive charitable work and community outreach, The Unity Project has won the hearts and minds of most in the Upstate New York region, but Lo knows there’s more to the group than meets the eye. She’s spent the last six years of her life trying—and failing—to prove it.
When a man shows up at the magazine Lo works for claiming The Unity Project killed his son, Lo sees the perfect opportunity to expose the group and reunite with Bea once and for all. When her investigation puts her in the direct path of its leader, Lev Warren and as Lo delves deeper into The Project, the lives of its members it upends everything she thought she knew about her sister, herself, cults, and the world around her—to the point she can no longer tell what’s real or true. Lo never thought she could afford to believe in Lev Warren . . . but now she doesn’t know if she can afford not to.
Also I’m sorry in advance for not using any character names, I truly do not remember any of them. I think I blocked them out?
About the Author:
Courtney Summers is a New York Times bestselling author of several novels. Her career in writing began in 2008, when she was 22. Her work has been released to critical acclaim and multiple starred reviews, receiving numerous awards and honors—including the Edgar Award, the John Spray Mystery Award, the Cybils Award, the White Pine award, the Odyssey Award and the Audie Award—and has enjoyed recognition on many library, state, ‘Best Of’ and Readers’ Choice lists. Courtney has reviewed for The New York Times, is the founder of 2015 worldwide trending hashttag #ToTheGirls, and in 2016, she was named one of Flare Magazine’s 60 under 30.
She lives and writes in Canada.
Where To Find Her:
The cover is probably my favorite thing about this book, which isn’t hard to do given my feelings about the book. But seriously, it is an amazing cover. I love the contrast of the colors, the cabin, the silhouette, and the color scheme. I also really think the Barnes & Noble exclusive edition, with a red instead of black cover, is so pretty. It’s very eye catching and visually stunning. Cover designer by Kerri Resnick and Cover artist Agata Wierzbicka did a great job.
Plot & Characters
I don’t really know how to describe the plot, so I’m going to describe my feelings about this book. I want to start by saying first and foremost, any author that can make me feel this much hatred is an amazing author. I ay have rated the book low, but that doesn’t mean that Courtney Summers didn’t do a great job writing this book. I just didn’t like almost everything about it lol.
It starts out a bit confusing at first but eventually my confusions were explained. It starts with the MC standing for one thing vehemently, and at the end, she has completely switched view points and was strongly manipulated into joining the side she abhorred in the first place. I know I’ve already spoiled the plot reveal of the book, but I don’t want to say some other things that happen to be bigger spoilers. Just typing that feels a bit like a cop-out of writing my thoughts down honestly, but to be completely honest with you, I don’t even know where to begin. My blog is called Some Books and Ramblings for a reason. I don’t want this to come out a incoherent mess.
I didn’t really have any favorite moments? I guess if I had to choose, it was when she had conversations with the father of the boy she watched jump in front of the train. They just seemed the most heartfelt.
Also, the scenes when she would hang out with her niece weren’t so bad. Sad, but not terrible.
Least Favorite Moments?
Any time the guy who ran the cult was manipulating anyone, or any of his “associates” were trying to gaslight the MC into leaving the premises. I just hated being so angry at a book lol. Also, the torture scenes towards the end when he has finally broken her down to the same point as her sister, that point of manipulation and gaslighting and abuse was just…ugh.
Absolutly not lmao
I realize that some people like books that fuck with your emotions and thoughts like this one does, but it just was not for me. If I had been a worse space mentally than I was when I read this, this could have been very triggering for me to read. As it was, there was a scene that involved one of my biggest anxiety triggers and even that didn’t crack the top 5 things I didn’t like about this book.